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THE INVALID ARTIST. --+-- THE loveliest baby, sir." What is it, nurse ?" asked the delighted father. A boy, sir, and perfect in limb and feature. Not a blemish in him." Nurse held up the little red lump of humanity for him to kiss; but though there was heartfelt happi- ness in the young father's look, he could not bring himself to caress it yet. AuntSt cousins, grandmothers, all came, and pro- nounced the child perfect. Never was there such a beautiful creature," said one and all; and* pretty Mary Kent, lying there with her soft, graceful em- broideries around her, and her dark curls floating over the pillow, was as happy a young mother as was ever blessed by the first sight of a blue-eved child. All the pleasant signs of progress that could be made by an infant prodigy like the little Fitz Her- bert, were duly observed and chronicled. Every little pearl of a tooth had its record to some distant rela- tive, and every inch of golden hair that added itself to the dear head, made it look more and more like a seraph to Mary's eyes. The teeth and hair having been duly registered, she would write no more letters to cousin Lucy until she could tell her that the baby walked. Oh, the inexpressible delight of seeing the first step which the little human traveller ever plants on the earth, which is to be the scene of his wander- ings until his last footstep hovers trembling over the grave! Well, Miss Kent, ain't that child never goin' to walk ?" asked a rough but well-meaning woman, when she called in one morning and saw the little two-year- old sitting tied into his dining chair, and watching his mother as she was paring apples. Mary burst into tears. Mrs. Rolfe she knew meant no harm, but she had touched a chord that vibrated in the poor young mother's heart, and waked into ex- pression a thought she had noc dared to utter. Oh, Mrs. Rolfe!" she said, in a piteous tone, that went to the good woman's heart, it was so sad, tell me, you who know so much about children, tell me what is the matter with mine!" Mrs. Rolfe made no reply but she took the baby from its chair, laid it in her lap, and, lifting its little feet in her hands, she rubbed and felt them for several minutes with her large brown hand, and then let them fall from her grasp, while a cloud came over her good- humoured face. "There's no strength there-and there never will be!" she said, in a compassionate voice. The mother shrieked aloud, and besought her to look aeain. Oh, Mrs. Rolfe, you must be mistaken. My little Fitz Herbert a cripple! He must not—shall not be!" and she pressed the half-frightened child to her bosom, convulsively, as if she could avert that terrible doom. Alas, she could not avert it. She sent for the doctor, and he only confirmed the painful fact. Some sinew or muscle had not received its proper amount of lubricative oil, or the life principle, so active in every othElr part of the little frame, had stopped short of the feet. Doctor Williams was not very lucid in his axplanations, and used hard words enough to stagger the simple audience he addressed in the persons of the mother and Mrs. Rolfe; but the end of it was that little Fitz Herbert was a very fortunate child to possess such a good mother, who would, he was confident, be resigned, and so forth. How to break it to the father Mary was at a loss to know. Mrs. Rolfe undertook it; and Mary charged her to be very gentle, and break it by de- grees. Poor Herbert "I she said, he had so longed for the little boy to walk out with him on afternoons when he was released from the desk." Herbert Kent was clerk in the small country bank -the solitary bank of the town—and his afternoons were his own. Only that very morning he bad asked Mary if the child would soon go alone. She did not appear to hear his question. She bad begun to fear something. The little boy had not shown any dispo- sition even to creep, and the poor feet lay still and motionless always. Herbert bore it better than she had hsped. He did not believe in it fully. Let the child get strength and it would walk fast enough! He even went around to his acquaintances to ascertain the exact time when their children could walk, and came back triumphantly to Mary with the most wonderful sta- tistics of pedestrian slowness that could be imagined. In fact, he partially succeeded in consoling Mary, when he told her how old were such and such children who were as backward as Fitz Herbert. The pitying mothers had not told him that their children had crept constantly, and used their feet every way but by walking on them. Two years took away this hope, and destroyed the consolation effectually. Fitz Herbert's feet fell as nerveless from their grasp as they had done before. The child, with all its glorious beautv—with its large, full eyes, its wealth of golden-coloured curls, and the sweet, serious mouth, with its bright red lips—was yet a cripple, helpless as when it first opened its blue eyes to the light. Patiently, after the firat bitter certainty was esta blished, the young couple set to work to make the life of their boy as pleasant and beautiful as they could under his hard privation. The weary miles that the young clerk carried his little son in his arms -the innumerable devices which he pondered for the invention of a self-propelling vehicle, by which Fitz Herbert could go from room to room, or down the small yard of their house Now, for the first time, did the father wish himself rich-not for the sake of having hired servants to wait on his child, for that would never be intrusted to another, but to procure the power of locomotion for him by some more costly means than he could now afford. Meantime Fitz Herbert was growing up, though not rapidly, in blissful half unconsciousness of a mis- fortune which was far more vivid in other people's eyes than his own. Never having enjoyed his powers of motion in that way, he could not so well realise the want of them. He could scarcely account at all for the pitying looks he received from others and the half-uttered exclamations which betrayed the sense of his bereavement. A dozen years passed away, and Herbert Kent, the kind husband and father, the patient half-rewarded man of business, was suddenly called home "to his Father's house in the skies." Mary stilled her own griefs to minister to the pas- sionate serrow of her boy and his grew calmer when he saw how she suppressed her own. She had learned, in her youth, to sew on straw and she now commenced an occupation which brought in abundant means to support herself and Fitz Herbert. But the restless child must have occupation too; and on her first journey to the town where she sold her manufactures, she procured for him a large and beau- tiful paint, such as he had been longing for every time he arranged his little bits of cheap paint- gamboge, and indigo, and red ochre. Oh, mamma! and you working all day and all night for this!" said the grateful little fellow. "No—not all night," answered the mother, softly. And besides, what would I not do for my good son ? Fitz Herbert's kiss was her reward and soon she had even greater than that. Without assistance or instruction, the boy did wonders in the new art which had become so dear to him. Old Mrs. Rolfe still befriended Mary Kent; and when, in the summer after Fitz Herbert attained his twelfth year, the old lady's house was filled with boarders from the city, she did cot even then forget her protigS. Mr. Waller, the artist, was among her guests, and she carried him off to see the boy at her first leisure moment, dimly conscious of some great good which he might do him. She was right. Waller saw the germ of genius, and, what does not always accom- pany genius—seldom, indeed—the essential quality of patienco in details; and he promised to himself, aDd to the delighted Mrs. Rolfe, that he would give that boy a helping lift, if Heaven spared his life. Hitherto the child had made pictures from copying engravings; now he desigm-d views, partly from memories of sweet spots which he had seen when gmng about the country with his father, and partly i rom the beautiful images and groupings in his own mind. Scarce a week passed that he did not receive some little help from Waller-a box of artists' imple- ments, or some work on painting, or an exquisite engraving to copy. And the next year Waller in- sisted on carrying away with him, for exhibition, a picture on which Fitz Herbert had expended incredible pains. It won't come to anything, Mr. Waller," said the boy, but I wish you would keep it yourself, as a remembrance of the good deeds you have done for me." I am not sure I have done you any good, Fitz Herbert," said Mr. Waller, doubtfully. "Oh yes, sir You have kept me from pining and cemplaining, at least; and is not that a blessing ?" The next news was that the oictnre was sold for five pounds. No great sum, wrote Waller, but au earnest of more by-and-by. My first did not bring half that." s Mrs. Rolfe went into hysterics of congratulation, and his mother's quiet tear of pleasure was so much better than even the money which he was so glad to have earned. One line in Waller's letter troubled the boy, because of the utter impracticability, he thought, of its suggestion being carried out. It is too late to fall back," he wrote and to become a painter you must see pictures. To the metro- polis, therefore, you must come." Fitz Herbert did not show this to his mother; but one day she took up Wailer's letter, and stumbled over that very paragraph-and in serene silence, as she did everything, she arranged her affairs for going before she disturbed his nerves by unfolding her plan. She had i grandaunt in London, who she knew would be glad to see her for her mother's sake and in the kind answer that was returned to her proposal of a visit to her, the ol i lady mentioned her own intimate acquaintance with Mr. Waller. Mrs. Kent bad always kept her son neat and re- spectable. She resolved he should be even well dressed now and a handsome suit of grey, and the finest of linen collars and wristbands, were the fruits of his first picture. His fair complexion and rich golden hair were set off by the neutral tint of his garments, and his faultless figure did credit to its nice fitting. The train bore him and his mother away, on an autumn day, and Dame Rolfe did not forget to throw her shoe after them for luck. (To be continued.) ",fI": -w-

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